Gentrification and a Mother

 

 

After travelling from afar

Leaving her home

The fresh air, the mountains, the rivers

Waking up to a rooster’s crow

The sounds of the chickens clucking happily

And the marked hooves on mud paths

She came to the city of another country

To the honking and the beeping

The marks of tires on paved roads

And the unfamiliarity of the steel boned buildings that seemed to reach the sky

The brown polluted hot air

That rushed out of the bus

And stuck to her like gum for the rest of the day

She felt lost and small

Under the looming steel structures

Not feeling that she was from here or from back there

Ni de aqui, ni de alla.

Until she remembered that this land was hers

Was of her ancestors

Was taken away and

Claimed by other people

But this land had always been indigenous

And then she found a community

A community that had endured

Where the pigment and melanin of skin seemed familiar

Where the shoutings of "Tamaaaaaless" and  "eloooootes" was a reassurance

And the Sawaya, where the all too familiar smell of warm tortillas came from

And she was surrounded by the laughter and chisme in a language she knew all too well

A home,

A place she belonged

Where she found new people,

People she could

laugh with

And talk of their old home with

Because they all had familiar stories

The same struggle

She found herself planting seeds

in a new land

Knowing that a seed from an orange tree

Will still grow up to become an orange tree in a different land

But still, as the bigger corporations wiped out the small shops

As the rich white folk moved into their community

She found herself worrying that her home was being snatched away from beneath her,

That her children, the seeds she had lovingly planted in the warm brown earth,

Would grow up without their roots,

Without knowledge of the blood that they carried in their veins

As they grew up in a world of big corporations and shiny malls

Instead of the Bazaar that

they went to as kids

To soak in the rich language and the sight of the vendors that looked like them

Now they would no longer have the chance to grow with the baazar, to pass down that experience

For the bazaar was stripped of its bark

A sad tree that was no longer filled with music and laughter and clucking chickens but

With aisles and aisles of cheap products and GMO filled foods

Known as the corporation of Walmart

Known as the nightmare of small shop owners

But she, as a mother, had her own nightmares

Nightmares as they built Petco Park

Forcing people to leave their homes

Nightmares that her children would

Forget their language, would

No longer be able to talk to her, would

Forget what she had to struggle through to get on this land

Forget that this land once belonged to them

To their ancestors

Ran in their blood,

A place they had never seen as it was back then

And yet, they felt it pulsing in their veins

Ready to burst as they

Angrily watched their community,

Their only ties to their culture,

The language, the music, the shops, the candy and food,

Being destroyed

Destroyed and slowly replaced

By the cucuys

The big monster corporations

Bringing along with them,

Their own people,

People that had a history of

Wiping out other people and their cultures

 

This poem is about: 
My family
My community

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